Guest post: Emma from A Splash of Vanilla

Emma is a food blogger, former registered nurse and perennial uni student, living in Brisbane, Australia who loves taking photos of just about anything.  She blogs about food and shares things that inspire her at and has kindly agreed to share her vision of the shape of things to come.

Huge thanks to Emma for joining the conversation. Guest contributors are most welcome!


Toni has very kindly asked me to do a guest post on what sustainability means to me and the kind of future I’d like to build so I hope I can do her justice. I’m afraid I don’t have any definitive ideas though; this is mainly just the way I try to make my way through the world.

Growing up, I had an unconventional childhood in northern NSW living on a hobby farm. I’m influenced by my upbringing in that I’m passionate about healthy, ethical food and living however am conflicted by my city living, modern lifestyle and often struggle with that. I love tea and books, will never buy an eBook reader and also, apparently I’m a resister (those who don’t use Facebook) which I think is quite funny.

The definition of sustainability seems simple enough when you read it: maintaining our present human, social and environmental needs while making sure we plan for future generations. As most of us know, it’s actually hugely complex and depends on where you live in the world, in your local community and your financial and social capabilities.

We’re living in some crazy times currently and in the western world we’re inundated with massive amounts of information and research studies all conflicting with each other – is sugar a toxin; should we eat meat; is coffee healthy or not; do we over screen for medical conditions and is this harmful or beneficial – are just a handful of issues which plague me. And I don’t know about anyone else but grocery shopping has become a minefield of ethical, health and social considerations – do I buy the Coles-brand organic tinned tomatoes or the Australian company, non organic, low BPA tinned tomatoes? Aaaargh. *Head implode*

To me personally, sustainability means living a simpler, more thoughtful life and here are some things I do:

  • Buy produce from local greengrocers and organic online sources;
  • Use more traditional methods of cooking and less appliances;
  • Sometimes buy treats like coffee or chocolate from fair trade sources;
  • Use old appliances until they break down before buying a new one;
  • Grow herbs and flowers – it’s cheap, satisfying, healthy and helps us all breathe a bit easier;
  • Be kind to each other;
  • Understand that not everybody can afford to buy fancy organic food – I can’t stand the middle-class self righteousness regarding healthy, ethical living (OMG you have to eat goji berries, no wait this week its purple carrots). If you have a bunch of kids to raise or a lower paying job then you do the best you can – better your kids eat cage eggs and tinned baked beans as part of a healthy diet than eat junk food. Plus, lower paid workers are often the hardest working – aged care nurses, cleaners, child care workers, carers, gardeners; yet they are contributing hugely to the world we live in;
  • Walk where you can;
  • Buy and restore old or second-hand furniture;
  • Use natural substances like cheap vinegar for cleaning;
  • Use your local parks and gardens – we use our local park and it’s mostly empty! If we don’t use them, the council will tear them down and put up a multi storey car park or something;
  • Don’t feel bad for liking nice things – having a hot shower and spraying on some perfume can lift my spirits more than anything, as can a nice cold glass of wine or a piece of cheesecake or going out to dinner. Everyone needs these things sometimes; it’s called quality of life!

I’d like to see a future where people still care about where they, and the world they live in, came from. It saddens me that we won’t have libraries one day, that iPhones and iPads are taking over the world and people aren’t communicating like they used to. It bothers me that people want what everyone else has: it’s a bit cultish to blindly do what everyone else is doing, we should be more evolved than that surely?

In saying that, I am seeing a move back to more traditional ways. For example, there’s a significant film camera revival happening at the moment which I love. Digital photography is wonderful but film is special. I also love that there are still so many people who love books: respect! I hope this continues into other avenues of life.

Thanks for reading and I’m looking forward to hearing other ideas about what you’d like the shape of things to be!

3 Comments on “Guest post: Emma from A Splash of Vanilla

  1. Wait, except the part about not having libraries. As a librarian, I really feel that we are still relevant, but perhaps in slightly different ways, to our society.

    • That’s great to hear! I’ve had friends say they’ll still exist but will adapt. I really hope so as I love them and feel they’re entirely relevant and visit my local library most Saturdays. I just get a bit touchy when I hear jokes being made about people not reading anymore or how printed books won’t exist soon. It’s a weird sort of transitional time we’re living in.

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